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Appeals court removes Carl Lewis from New Jersey ballot

By Michael Martinez, CNN
updated 2:49 PM EDT, Thu September 22, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Olympian Carl Lewis doesn't meet the state's four-year residency rule, court says
  • Court says printing of ballots may proceed without Lewis' name
  • Lewis wanted to run as a Democrat for the New Jersey state Senate

(CNN) -- A federal appeals court removed Olympian Carl Lewis from a New Jersey state Senate race ballot Thursday, yet another turn in his on-again off-again quest for candidacy.

A three-judge panel with the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said Lewis, who voted in California elections in 2008 and 2009, didn't meet New Jersey's four-year residency requirement.

"Lewis has failed to show that, as applied to him, the four-year state residency requirement for the office of State Senator in New Jersey has treated him unequally," the court ruling said.

In April, New Jersey Lt. Gov. and Secretary of State Kim Guadagno ruled that Lewis was ineligible for the race because he failed to meet state residency requirements.

A U.S. District Court in New Jersey court also found that Lewis didn't meet the requirement.

Initially, the appellate court indicated it would reverse the district court's judgment, and Circuit Judge Thomas L. Ambro said last week, "The State has failed to demonstrate a compelling state interest in the application of this durational residency requirement to this particular candidate."

But in its full legal opinion Thursday, the court rendered the ruling removing Lewis from the ballot.

"In light of our affirmance of the District Court, the printing of ballots without Lewis' name may proceed," Thursday's ruling said in a final footnote.

Lewis, a nine-time Olympic gold medal winner in track, was seeking to run as a Democrat for the state Senate seat in the 8th Legislative District of New Jersey against Republican state Sen. Dawn Addiego.

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